I’ve Been Thinking…


How do political party candidates get to put aside their jobs as senators, governors and sometimes even presidents to go on the campaign trail.

Yes, there are phones, faxes and computers but is the job back at home, where they were elected, REALLY getting done? 

A couple of the senators in the current presidential race have been at it for over a year now. 

And most likely, the winner and loser will say they need a vacation after the election takes place. 

And they will take one.

Hmmmm…what’s wrong with this picture.

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49 Comments

  1. Debbie 1

    I’m glad I’m not the only one that thinks about that.

    Reply
  2. ladywalker 3

    Been wondering that myself for some time now. There should be some kind of limit for time spent away from the job they are being paid to do.

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  3. I couldn’t agree more. It is not that I am apathetic, but I am just about over it all.

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  4. Makes you wonder exactly what it was they did before they started the campaign trail.

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  5. I’ve wondered about this too–campaigning is a full-time job! I have no idea how they’re getting it done!

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  6. Hahahaha…that is awesome! It does make you wonder…doesn’t it?

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  7. I’ve often wondered. I guess it takes a campaign manager and a groomer and 20 aides back in the main office to get them through a day.

    I hate feeling cynical.

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  8. The fact that we’re not senators and we don’t know how to work the system?

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  9. I have said the same thing for years. Many people respond…well that’s just the way it is.

    No that’s not the way it is. If I didn’t go to work for a year to campaign for a public office, I wouldn’t have a job to return to.

    Crazy. They work for us, the people, why aren’t more people outraged about this?

    Reply
  10. Liz C. 11

    I’ll pose this question as if it were a question on “Jeopardy”. How are the American tax dollars and election time donations being spent?

    I’m just saying….

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  11. I have often wondered this myself.

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  12. Oh senators do something? Spend Spend Spend!

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  13. Marjie 14

    Glad I’m not the only one contemplating this question. Could it be caused by the fact that every candidate expects to show up everywhere and be all things to all people? Let me count how many have come to the “home” of The Office (TV show): Hillary, twice during the primary, her kid, Obama during the primary and last week, Biden last week, McCain once I’m told (although that wasn’t front page news). Hells Bells, there are only 60,000 people here! You’d think we were freakin’ Chicago or something! Hillary claims to be “from” here, because she went to her Grampy’s house once in a while, and Biden claims the same, because he lived here until he was 10. Sheesh! Enough already! How stupid do they all think we are?

    Do a knock-down, drag-out on TV once a week, and tell us what you really think, not what you think we want to hear. I personally hear that most people are smart enough to deduce from that whether or not they trust someone.

    And yet, the circus continues.

    Reply
  14. I’ve often wondered about that myself. If we (the regular folks) told new employers we needed an immediate vacation before we began our job, we’d be sent packing with a boot in our behind.

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  15. Trisha 16

    I am SOOO glad that I am not the only person who wonders about that kind of stuff! They ARE getting paid to work for US, right? Politicians spend so much time campaining that they don’t have time to do important stuff – which is why they do stupid stuff like complain about the names of hurricanes!

    Reply
  16. Daisy 17

    The reason more people aren’t enraged about it is that if you were to get enraged, what would do? Where would you start? Would you be enraged about spending? About time allocation? About political appointees that have little to no experience to manage the position they are given? Would you quit your own job to get fired up about all of the short comings in our government?

    And, not to mention that occasionally – and it’s probably VERY occasionally – there are good people who are elected or hired into government positions who spend our tax dollars wisely. It just takes one person to misuse resources, and everyone else gets screwed dealing with the bureaucratic ramifications (extra paperwork, long lines of approval requesting – then you spend most of your time doing that and you don’t have nearly enough time for your job.)

    So, for this particular question? I think we as a “general public” encourage this kind of campaigning because we’re too lazy to do the research ourselves. If candidates had the confidence that we’d look into their record and not be bowled over by the loudest, flashiest candidate, the honest candidates would stay at work and not campaign.

    Reply
  17. That’s a really good point. I never even thought of it.

    Reply
  18. Harmony 19

    Great question…if you ever do get a solid answer, let us know!

    Reply
  19. Yet another example of our tax dollars at work – They were elected to serve their respective states… Wonder if anything is really getting done in their extended absense.
    Great question one that I would love to hear the candidates themselves answer. Talk about neglect…

    Reply
  20. Amber 21

    Well, well put.

    Reply
  21. Amber 22

    If I spent money the way Washington does I would be a bajillion zillion dollars in overdraft fees in the hole. Ooh, maybe we can get all the Senators to not do their job for a while and hire some one smart who can handle money.

    Reply
  22. Well, I suspect all of our Congresspeople aren’t present every day.

    I will give campaigners the benefit of the doubt. After all, the legislation that they support or don’t support can be a key issue in the campaign, so a senator knows it’s to his or her benefit to be in session long enough to know what’s going on and when key votes are.

    I would suspect that if there is a vote on something that is either a key election issue, or something that is key to that lawmaker’s district, then the lawmaker will make a point to show up.

    HOwever, I think if it’s not something relevant to the campaign, they’re likely to be out stumping that day. I’m sure they know what the docket is each day so they know if they’re better off on Capitol Hill or if they should be out campaigning.

    But I guess I’m optimistic like that.

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  23. When I become Ruler of The Universe, political campaigns will be limited to 90 days.

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  24. “What’s wrong with this picture?” you ask. NOTHING, if you’re the elected official and your constituents fail to take notice. When we distill the power seekers from amongst us and concentrate them into their own beaker (aka Washington DC) we end up with a mighty powerful concoction that probably exudes an odor (did I mean stench?) that threatens to cloud the otherwise common-thinking elements of the “elected.” When in Rome … so goes the thinking of many. Mr. Smith goes to Washington … reassures others (and they serve, accomplish, and GO HOME to live life again). In the midst of all of this are MANY hardworking souls who spend their days running on the hamster wheel we call government. It’s not perfect, but for the most part it still spells freedom — glance around the world; check the pages of history. ‘Tis my job to keep them accountable … and so I do every time I go to the ballot box, every time I mention a candidates name. OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people. We can NEVER let down our guard and hand over the reins of authority. They work for me, regardless of whether they want to believe it. I want to remind them. DON’T DESPAIR … VOTE!!!!

    Reply
  25. My husband just asked me this same question. It is a different time now with all the technological advances, but you are right about all the time away from their district and what not.
    On a side note, we have only elected, we haven’t elected a member of Congress to the White House since Kennedy and I think we have only had 4 in total. So, that will make this election even more historical.

    Reply
  26. Dee 27

    That’s a really good point. Hmm…

    Reply
  27. And can you find a Senator who isn’t always campaigning? I think they show up for the votes and then hit the road again.

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  28. HA! So true and we never even think about that, do we? Well…you obviously do. But that’s a good question. Who IS getting the work done?

    Reply
  29. Paula 30

    Amen to that! There’s so much spin and every little step is orchestrated to the nth degree. Meanwhile, who’s watching the store?

    Reply
  30. I’ve always wondered about this! I really believe we need more campaign reform than has already been done. We need to cut back on the ridiculously long campaign season and all those appearances. I think all candidates should be required to get the word out about their platform, goals, and values through just a few debates and televised appearances and skip all this other expensive and time wasting garbage that only clouds the issues. It’s just unbelievable how much money is spent on these campaigns and how much focus it takes away from actually getting business done.

    Reply
  31. Bob 32

    Huh, you know, I’ve never thought of this before. I should have… but it never even occurred to me. If all their work is getting done without them, then why bother having them there in the first place?

    Reply
  32. KathyB. 33

    Our sentiments exactly ! Would our employers give us months off to pursue our dreams and goals, allow us to NOT do our job….and give us paid vacations besides ? I guess that is why our elected officials are ‘public employees’ ?We the public pay for their good times and get the wonderful satisfaction of seeing our political issues ignored or mocked at at OUR expense. What a grand scheme they have going on, but shhh…don’t tell the public. KathyB.

    Reply
  33. Barbie with a T 34

    Mere Government overspending.

    Reply
  34. Hi there, My husband and I met at the capitol. We’ve worked many campaigns. My husband is currently chief of staff for a senator.

    Our politicians, love them or hate them, work 24 hours a day. They log in the necessary hours for public service and then spend the rest of the time campaigning. Contrary to popular belief, they do not get paid very much for their service.

    In regards to your question about campaigning, It comes down to sacrificing family time. There is little to no “vacation time.” Many political consultants and staff memebers travel with the family on their “vacations.” Its very hard and demanding work.

    Typically they do not campaign until the legislative session is over. In California it was supposed to be over in August so that they could campaign. But due to the budget impasse, they are still working for the public 12 hours a day through every weekend. We have not been paid since June (which is typical during a budget impasse).

    Its easy to throw stones. But you are talking about a few hundred people in a sea of 300 million who actually step up to lead.

    Reply
  35. mitchsmom 36

    I have always wondered that, too.

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  36. Marjie 37

    Well, I can’t comment about working 24 hours a day, although it certainly doesn’t seem so. I do believe that staffers log more hours than the politicians.

    Insofar as politicians being paid very little, I doubt that even Bill Gates thinks in excess of $100K per year is “not very much”. Add to that their health insurance, which is a lifetime benefit, is it not, and that’s a lot of money to all the rest of us. They also have much more potential than the rest of us to make a great deal of money during and after their time in office, between book deals and speaking fees. Does anyone really want to hear our gracious hostess, Cathy, lecture about the trials and tribulations of starting a vineyard? And just how much will they pay her? Senator Somebody from Montana, however, could be well paid for the same speech.

    So, I’m sure your husband works long, hard hours. But none of the rest of us believe his employer works as long and hard, or that his employer is not paid very much.

    Thank you for your perspective.

    Reply
  37. They do go back to vote you know. But it does show us something about the system and how important they were in it.

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  38. Flea 39

    … and then I scroll down and see a picture of the stirrup horse. Does that mean something?

    Reply
  39. Chou 40

    This is the beauty of local office vs. national office–you don’t have to campaign nearly as much, and if you live in a small town you can actually meet your constituents. All of them.

    Reply
  40. I’ve always wondered about this myself. But really, how much do senators and representatives really DO? How many active days are they in session? Not a whole lot, whether they’re running for president or not.

    Wow, I’m cynical. Huh. Who knew?

    Reply
  41. Suzette 42

    Having put in some time in an organization that engages in a bit of – ahem – lobbying…it has been my observation that it’s the Senators’ STAFF (hardworking, underpaid staff, that is) that do the actual WORK. The higher you are on the totem pole, the less you do. That’s pretty much the way it is in most settings, I’m afraid.

    Reply
  42. Possibly this is a strong indication our electoral process should be changed? Thought -provoking, Cathy.

    Reply
  43. Bunny 44

    Well I bet the staff behind these politicians can’t wait for this election to be over with, it sounds like they get stuck with all the work.

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  44. tipper 45

    Cathy-a very worthy subject for this post! Kinda lets you see why nothing ever gets completed.

    Reply
  45. Misty 46

    Haaa Haa! That sounds EXACTLY like my husband. I love cargo pants though. My husband pokes fun at the clothes I pick out for him too, must be a man thing!

    Reply
  46. At least they don’t quit after they’ve found a better job offer. Oh wait, that is what they’re doing.

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  47. Yeah! I’ve been thinking about that too!

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  48. heather 49

    i’ve always kinda wondered about that…..wish my job worked like that!

    Reply

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